Aerial sells Jazz rights to sleeping sickness drug but Gentium shareholders put brakes on earlier deal
Jazz Pharmaceuticals has agreed with Aerial Bio Pharma to acquire the rights to ADX-N05, a drug designed to treat narcolepsy. The agreement sees an initial payment of $125 million (£76 million) in cash, plus up to $270 million dependent on development and revenue milestones. Aerial announced positive results for phase IIb trials of ADX-N05 and had been publicly seeking a buyer to oversee the next phase of the drug’s development.
However, Jazz’s proposed takeover of Italian drugmaker Gentium appears to be in jeopardy. Jazz had agreed with Gentium’s board to acquire a controlling stake in the company in a deal that was initially valued at around $1 billion. The sale has been rejected by the company’s shareholders, who are now taking legal action against the board of Gentium on the grounds that they have undervalued the company and filed misleading and false documents with the Securities and Exchange Comission. In October 2013, Gentium received authorisation from the European commission to market DNA-based drug Defitelio (defibrotide), for treating severe hepatic veno-occlusive disease in patients undergoing haematopoietic stem cell transplants.
Both of these proposed transactions have increased ongoing speculation that Jazz is itself likely to become a target for further mergers and acquisitions activity, as it becomes more attractive to prospective buyers.
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